Christian McPhilamy, 8, of Melbourne, Florida, was raised to give back to those in need, and not even bullies could stop him from helping when he decided to grow out his hair for pediatric cancer patients. Christian saw a TV commercial about children in 2012 and the intrepid second-grader from Ocean Breeze Elementary School did some research online about the disease. While he was surfing the web, he saw an ad for a charity that makes wigs for children with cancer.
Christian’s mother, Deeanna Thomas, explained the organization’s purpose to her son, and Christian, who was 6 years old at the time, immediately decided to grow his hair out so he could donate it. As he grew his blond locks out, Christian was frequently teased.
“Some people tried to call me a girl,” he explained. Although the comments made him feel “not very good,” he kept going.
“I just wanted to give a wig away,” he said.
A few weeks ago, Christian went for the big chop. His parents divided his hair into four sections and the haircut yielded as many ponytails — one measured in at 12 inches, the other three 11 inches each. He donated his hair to Children with Hair Loss, a charity based in Michigan.
Linda Dmitruchina, a volunteer with the charity, is currently working with 335 recipients, four of whom are boys.
Christian’s mother and stepfather, Scott Norris, said they tried to raise their son and daughter, Avalynn Norris, 3, to help others. They donate their clothes and toys, leave bags of popcorn and money at Redbox kiosks, and stash dollar bills at discount stores. When Christian was 2 years old, he even wanted to give his neighbor a Big Wheel because he felt it was unfair that he didn’t have one.
“We try to bring both of them up where it’s not just about you,” Thomas said. “It’s about everyone. It’s about everybody helping everybody, and everybody being involved in their community.”
Norris said his family tries to deal with uncomfortable topics, like children afflicted with serious illnesses, head on.
“We together as parents decided when our kids start asking about something, we’re not going to lie to them or try to sneak around it,” he said. “We’re going to try to break it down as best as we possibly can.”
Thomas posted about her son’s good deed on Facebook and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The schoolyard bullies who teased Christian for his long hair have also come around — some of them have even admitted that his move was pretty awesome.
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